Surge in violent crime in Texas, relaxed gun laws has Central Texas mother concerned

Waco chief of police asking citizens for help.
Posted at 7:12 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 21:39:40-05

Flecha Smyre has spent over a decade mourning the loss of her son Montrell Phenix, who was shot and killed on Nov. 7, 2010.

"That was the worst night I've ever had," said Smyre.

Bronshae Lonell Robinson shot Phenix at the intersection of Earle Avenue and Forrest Street in Waco.

Surge in violent crime in Texas, relaxed gun laws has Central Texas mother concerned

According to the arrest affidavit, Robinson was driving recklessly, which caused a car to run into the vehicle Phenix was driving. Police records say Phenix asked Robinson if he planned to cover the damages before walking back toward his car. At that time, officers said Robinson shot Phenix several times in his upper body.
"It just seems like it's a daily routine that go one and take place through out the cities," said Smyre.

Texas sees a surge of violent crime

Texas murders were up 37 percent from 1,403 murders in 2019 to 1,927 in 2020, according to a Department of Public Safety Report.

In January Waco Police Chief sounded the alarm after seeing violent crime go up in Waco.

Waco police officers

"The majority of incidents we are seeing are between the 17 to 28 age group," said Sheryl D. Victorian, Waco Chief of Police.

Aggravated assaults are up 16.4 percent. The total violent crimes were higher in 2020 than any other year in the past decade.

Violent crime in Killeen is up 15 percent in 2019 there were 14 murders in 200 there was a jump to 26 which is an 85 percent increase.

Relaxed Gun Laws in Texas have some concerned

On Sept. 1, most Texans were able to carry handguns in public without going through training or having to get permits.

To even think about letting someone buy a gun and don't even have a license for one, you're setting them up to go do whatever and they can carry it wherever they want.
Flecha Smyre

Some law enforcement officials worry that the laws might have to do with the uptick of gun violence in the state.

Sheryl Victorian

"I think it might have something to do with gun ownership, hints irresponsible use of weapons who won't go on and receive training," said Sheryl D. Victorian, Waco Chief of Police.

HB 1927 allows those who qualify under the law can carry a handgun in a public place in Texas without a license to carry (LTC).

“You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights,” Abbott said at the bill signing in June. “But today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State.”

Greg Abbott
FILE - In this March 16, 2020 file photo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Waco police release statement on constitutional carry law

The Texas Police Chiefs Association said the bill was a risk to the public and law enforcement but now all law enforcement agreed.

"The core laws that was the big premise of this thing was that this doesn't change a single thing other than that you no longer have to get a license," said Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe. "Any and all existing laws on the books that apply to gang members, felons, whatever the case, none of that's changed."